Washington: US State Secretary Antony Blinken during the ministerial forum on resilient supply chain appreciated India's steadfastness in supporting the country by providing medicines at a time when the US was hit badly by the COVID-19 outbreak, said sources.

"Back in 2020 when COVID-19 was hitting Americans the hardest, India provided medicines and bio-supplies to the United States," Blinken said at the Supply Chain Ministerial Forum while praising India.

India had sanctioned lakhs of Hydroxychloroquine tablets to the US. Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug deemed to be useful in dealing with COVID-19.

Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina M Raimondo co-hosted a Supply Chain Ministerial Forum July 19-20, 2022, to further build cooperation with stakeholders and key partner nations on supply chains.

India came to the assistance of the United States during this country's time of need, and now the United States stands with the people of India as they continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) had said.

In June 2021, the USAID also announced USD 41 million in support to help India respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country's preparedness for COVID-19 and future health emergencies.

Officials from Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom participated in the meeting.

"The shocks to global supply chains from pandemics, wars and conflicts, extreme climate impacts, and natural disasters have put in stark relief the urgent need to further strengthen supply chains, to work to reduce and end near-term disruptions, and to build long-term resilience," the participants said in a joint statement at the conclusion of the virtual event.

Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez and Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Marisa Lago delivered opening remarks for the July 19 stakeholder sessions on Crisis Response, Enabling and Investment Environment, Transportation/Logistics, and Workforce Development/Labour.

The virtual event convened stakeholders from labour, industry, civil society - including historically underrepresented voices - and subnational officials to address both short-term bottlenecks and longer-term supply chain challenges.

At the Ministerial Plenary on July 20, the United States, allies, and partners made political commitments to work together to address near-term supply chain disruptions.

They aimed to cooperate on building long-term supply chain resiliency by supporting transparency, diversification, security, and sustainability by adherence to high environmental and labour standards, including the prevention of forced labour, coupled with workforce development to meet tomorrow's needs.

The participants' engagement at the 2022 Supply Chain Ministerial Forum is intended for working together on crisis response.

It is an effort to alleviate near-term transportation, logistics, and supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks as well as the long-term resilience challenges that make supply chains vulnerable and cause spill over effects for consumers, large and small businesses, workers, and families., said a State Department release.